Archive for May 8, 2018

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Discovery - DNS-SD Browser

Discovery 2.0 (via Kevin Ballard):

Discovery is a utility that displays all of the Bonjour services available on the local network or on Wide-Area Bonjour domains. Use it to debug your latest program, detect computers connected to your network, or just keep tabs on what services are available. Perfect for network admins or developers!

This application is the successor to the venerable Bonjour

Previously: Bonjeff 1.0.

What Happened to Apple’s Whimsy?

Peter Cohen:

The iMac debuted 20 years ago this week. It’s not hyperbole to say that it’s the computer that saved Apple and set the stage for Apple’s ascendance to becoming the biggest tech company in the world. All that said, Apple’s lost something in the translation – while the iMac is still a fixture in Apple’s product line, it lacks some essential qualities of that first model. Its personality has changed. The iMac has gotten harder. It’s lost the sense of whimsy, fun, and wonder that made the first iMac such a joy to use.


The original iMac was a mass-market computer designed to appeal to consumers, educators, and others that Apple saw as a ripe market. Today’s iMac is orders of magnitude faster and more capable, but as a design exercise, it’s also infinitely more severe. Severe in both form and function.

Marco Arment:

It tragically passed away in 2011.

We all really miss it.

On the other hand, now we have watch bands, Animoji, and Siri jokes.

Nick Heer:

I think that Apple’s increasingly austere take on industrial design has made them better at shipping products that feel almost invisible. I appreciate that. It reduces the hardware to a tool, but not an appliance, yet I think Apple’s products feel even more approachable than they used to because so much of what they make is entirely straightforward. They don’t need to mask the complexity of the software with a layer of gumdrop plastic; in many ways, the software has become simple enough that the hardware can reflect that.

Is the software on a 2018 iMac really simpler than on a 1998 iMac? I don’t know how you would measure this, but my gut feeling is that it’s more complex now.

Or, to take a specific example, Time Machine’s restoration interface no longer has a star field. Other than some additional colors (more complexity) it works pretty much the same as before, so I don’t see how you can make the case that the star field is no longer “needed.” It just seems like a change in fashion.

Previously: 20 Years of iMac.

Update (2018-08-02): See also: Memoji Apple Leadership, Accidental Tech Podcast.

Update (2019-09-13): John Gruber:

Whimsy is coming back.

Update (2020-02-07): Ryan Poolos:

It has been a long time since Apple had whimsy like this. On the homepage no less. Whoever is driving Apple Arcade inside is doing great.

A Tricky Feature

Mark Bernstein:

When you copy some text in Tinderbox 7, you copy the text and its styles but not thew text links. Being able to copy and paste text links along with the text seems a simple-enough request, and in fact it will be part of Tinderbox 7.5. One tester recently asked the obvious “what took you so long?” question: why was this difficult.


The whole business was, in short, a classic example of a task that ought to have been easy, that any reasonable customer would assume to be easy. The final implementation is really not very large or complex. Nevertheless, it required an inordinate amount of work. This is usually the mark of bad code, but I really don’t see what would have made this easier.

iOS Design Inconsistencies Across Apple’s Apps

Benjamin Mayo:

My gripe is there is no consistency, no structure or logic to this. Apps introduced later sometimes use rounded icons, sometimes not, sometimes create all-new custom glyphs of their own. Incredulously, you could open flagship apps like Messages, Mail and Safari and have no idea Apple was even playing with bold icons as a conceptual change. These apps adopted the iOS 11 large bold navigation bar title formats, but their icons and glyphs have stagnated for more than four years at this point.

All the icons I’ve showed you here are from Apple’s built-in default apps. I expect them to set the standard for the iOS design language … but the reality is far from a perfect point. It’s scattershot, it’s a mess of competing visions. I couldn’t say what Apple’s human interface team wants the share icon to look like, let alone the structure and experience of iOS apps as a whole. Everything is in disarray.

VI Months With the iPhone X

Nick Heer:

It is still the most beautiful product Apple has ever shipped; it still feels impossibly good, like a prototype, like a fine watch, et cetera, et cetera.


However, the display has not remained blemish-free. There are a few small but noticeable hairline scratches, especially in the area where my right thumb swipes upwards to unlock or scroll. I haven’t treated this iPhone any differently, nor is the skin on my thumb any different than it used to be, as far as I know. However, after comparing the screen of my iPhone X against my old iPhone 6S, it seems to be scratched more obviously.


Yet, no matter how much better the new noise reduction algorithms are, they’re still no match for the detail you can see in a RAW photo. That’s part of the hardware story: both of these cameras are truly sublime.


The home screen still follows a pattern of starting in the upper-left corner. Tapping the back button that appears after one app launches another now requires a warmup of finger callisthenics, and an active AppleCare agreement, just in case. And bringing down Control Centre by dragging from the upper-right “ear” still feels bizarre and unfinished.


The gestural navigation that replaces the home button is, frankly, ingenious. Jumping between apps and the home screen feels fun, and switching between apps by swiping across the home indicator is second nature.

I just wish it felt better in the hand and pocket.

Previously: Scratched iPhone 8 and iPhone X Screens, iPhone 8 and iPhone X Cameras.